The Price of a Peaceable Kingdom

The Peaceable Kingdom is a book by Stanley Hauerwas.  In 2001 Time Magazine named him “America’s best theologian.”  It’s been a few years, but it’s surprising how few people not involved in theological ethics know anything about his work.

Hauerwas is from Texas, the son of a bricklayer, and a bricklayer himself when he was young.  He makes a point of that in his memoir, Hannah’s Child.  The idea is that he’s down to earth, not like all these fancy theologians from Germany.

To be the church

“The first social task of the church is to be the church.” (Peaceable, loc 236)  One of his best-known sayings, I’ve never been quite clear what it means.  I think it means that the church should care for the souls of its congregation first.  Church members should practice non-violence, because they themselves are not pure.  Christians should exemplify “cells of joy” in a world that barely knows the meaning of the word.  More on this later. 

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